The Algarve! How dreamy it was! This was our first trip post baby, and it was a perfect mix of seeing gorgeous sights and spending a lot of time relaxing (I wish I could say on the beach, but we spent a lot of time keeping sweet baby Jules cool and shaded since the internet says he isn't allowed to wear sunscreen). We spent a week there, and it was perfect. Of course I would love to see more of the country, but one week in one area with all these incredible places to see was the perfect amount of time to do it all and not feel rushed. Here are my top ten:
1. Ponta da Piedade
This might be touristy and cliche, but this was my favorite spot. How can it not be with those stunning rock formations? And you can walk from the lookout point along the cliffs to see several different viewpoints, all of which were some of the most stunning of everything we saw. And here's a tip: to avoid the crowds and to see the place at its most beautiful, GO AT SUNRISE! How dumb are we that we woke up our five week old so that we could do this? #newbies #butreallyhewassogood
2. Praia do Camilo
If you want some exercise to complement a lot of lounging around, go to Praia do Camilo, because there are many, many stairs to get down here. Oh also, it is really pretty. We went here at sunrise as well (it is approximately two minutes from Ponta da Piedade), which made for a great beach trip with no direct sunlight so Julian could come.
I LOVED wandering the streets of Lagos. There are so many vibrant colors in buildings, doors, and flowers. I wanted to report back about the delicious pastries we found here, but after one bite of that traditional Portuguese pastry, I promptly discarded mine (Chad did too, Julian didn't get any). Maybe I picked the wrong spot?
4. Praia Dona Ana
This was a quick stop for us, but it's another beach along the coast by Ponta da Piedade, and I thought it was SO picturesque! And you can park right by it, so it is a bit of an easier trip than Camilo. I was quite pleased with the crowd's selection of colorful umbrellas.
5. The End of the World
This is the bottom corner of the country, where you will find more stunning cliffs (I sound like a broken record, I know), and a lighthouse at the most southwest point. I am a sucker for a lighthouse in a gorgeous place (I am still not over Neist Point in the Isle of Skye). Bring a pony tail holder for your hair and avoid a sundress because that place is WINDY.
6. Sagres Pottery
Heading back from The End of the World, I saw this bright white building covered in the most amazing colorful pottery and we immediately turned the car around to go back and check it out. This unplanned stop turned out to be one of my favorites because it was filled with the most incredible Portuguese pottery. My main recommendation to anyone going to the Algarve is bring an extra suitcase so you can stock up on these things like I couldn't.
7. Praia da Marinha
This beach! It looks a lot like the Twelve Apostles that I have seen so many photos of but that are so far away I wonder if I will ever get to see them. So I am grateful to have seen Europe's version. So beautiful.
8. Praia de Benagil
Okay. Benagil Cave, a quick boat ride from this beach, was the thing I was MOST excited about seeing on this trip. We went there the last day that we had a rental car (how dumb am I?), and the waves were so big that they were taking no boats out ALL DAY. I was so sad. We hung around for a while since, duh, it's still pretty, and we wanted to see if the waves would die down, but no luck. I guess we will have to go back!
Salema is a little fishing village where you will find small, colorful, charming streets that lead out to a pristine beach. It is such a lovely place to hang out for a while. I had a friend tell me she had the best fish of her life here. We sat down to try to order some, but after 20 minutes of not even being given a menu, we decided our newest addition might not make it through the entire meal. But if you have the freedom to sit back and relax, try the fish!!
10. Praia da Falesia
This beach blew me away. We saw it in such gorgeous light as the sun was setting, and the red cliffs behind the beach were unreal! Unlike anything else we saw on this trip. It reminded me of the red rocks back home in Utah. And some beach time without worrying about the sun was pretty magical (file under things I never thought I would say before I had a baby).